Stephanie Rew & Niall Toolan
Thursday 16 – Saturday 25 April 2009
Oisín Gallery FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Joint Debut Exhibition of paintings by
STEPHANIE REW and NIALL TOOLAN
View Thursday 16 April 6.00pm to 8.00pm (with artists in attendance)
Listing: Oisín Gallery will host a joint debut exhibition by Scottish artist, Stephanie Rew and Dublin-based painter, Niall Toolan. Launch takes places from 6 to 8pm Thursday 16 April, and is open daily from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5.30pm. Exhibition continues until Saturday 25 April. Exhibition features portraits and still life paintings influenced by tradition and Flemish Baroque style. 44 Westland Row Dublin 2 Ireland. +353 1 661 1315. Further details online at www.oisingallery.com.
Niall Toolan was born in Lagos in Nigeria in 1955, and moved with his family to Dublin in 1960. From 1973 to 1977, he studied at the National College of Art & Design and received an Honours Diploma in Visual Communications. Since graduating, he worked as a designer in the fields of advertising, design for print and marketing, and as a designer for both film and television production. He was also a visiting lecturer in Visual Communications at the National College of Art and Design and the Dunlaoghaire College of Art from 1982 to 1987. Concurrent with these activities, he retained a keen interest in painting, particularly traditional watercolour. His first solo exhibition took place in Bray in 1987, and he exhibited in Coopers of Greystones from 1992 and Cherrylane Fine Arts in Wicklow. Since then, he has worked to commission and sold to private buyers both in Ireland and abroad before joining Oisín Gallery as a regular exhibitor.
Niall has a great affinity with Flemish Baroque painters, noting Rembrandt, Vermeer, van Dyck and Jordaens as particular influences. His paintings feature a variety of immaculately observed arrangements involving natural still-life objects, such as fruit, fish, rocks and feathers, positioned next to more atypical items, such as metallic vessels intertwined with sumptuous fabrics, phonograph horns, a Royal typewriter, antique coal irons and a manual Singer sewing machine. These paintings are executed in the vanitas style and although often contain objects symbolizing the fragility of earthly possessions and ephemeral nature of life, their appearance does not encourage a sombre view of the world. Instead, the artist has managed to create a sense of peace and silence using the genre of still life and occasionally trompe-l’oeil. The resultant tranquillity seems to overwhelm the viewer, and this is reinforced by his handling of light and shade which highlights the intricacy and delicacy of his work.
Stephanie Rew was born in Carlisle in 1971 and raised in Edinburgh. She trained at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, Scotland and, upon graduating in 1994, won the Elizabeth Greenshields Award. She has since exhibited extensively throughout the United Kingdom, France and Ireland. She is regularly represented at the Glasgow Art Fair by Scotland’s Art Exposure Gallery and has featured in many of Oisín Gallery's group exhibitions, including Modern Figure in 2007, in which eight international artists presented works which referenced and explored the treatment of the figure as subject in contemporary painting.
Stephanie’s primary choice of subject is the female figure. She employs classical styles and techniques concerning pose and composition and often limits her palette to enhance a sense of privacy and draw attention to form. She cites the work of Caravaggio and Raphael as main influences, as well as James McNeill Whistler, in particular his society portraits. She shares the latter's philosophy that painting should essentially be concerned with the harmonious arrangement of tone and not with a literal interpretation of the natural world, together with his attraction to Asian motifs, apparent in her traditional kimono and uchikake adorned figures, inspired by Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints.
Stephanie’s work may be found in many collections in the United Kingdom, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as private collections in Europe, Australia and the United States.
High resolution images available upon request
Paintings in the exhibition